Events set to prepare for and observe solar eclipse

Barnwell County will be just on the edge of the total eclipse viewing area on Monday, August 21.

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and earth, creating total darkness.

In Barnwell County, the partial phase of the eclipse will start at approximately 1:13 p.m. on Monday, August 21. The total darkness phase will begin at approximately 2:43 p.m. and will last 32 seconds. Then it will return to the partial phase. The end of the eclipse will be at 4:07 p.m.

Blackville is in the path of 100 percent totality. Williston and Barnwell will have 99 percent, according to NASA’s interactive map.

While the phenomenon can only be seen for a few seconds, it may be the experience of a lifetime for many. Planning where you want to be well in advance is part of getting the best view.

Emergency planners are warning people not to pull off on the side of the road or interstate but rather be in a safe place well off the road.

Millions of people are expected to be in South Carolina for the weekend prior to and on the Monday of the eclipse. Traffic before and after the eclipse is expected to be extremely heavy, particularly in cities such as Columbia, Orangeburg, Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg.

Local schools will operate only a half day on August 21.

Eye safety

Watching the eclipse also means having protective eyewear (not ordinary sunglasses) or making plans to view the eclipse safely.

Only approved safety glasses should be worn. Looking directly at the sun can cause damage to a person’s eyes. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality.”

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.

Eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers have to be verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.

Always inspect your solar filter before use. If scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.

Filters should also be used for cameras and cell phones to avoid damage to those devices.

NASA

One of the best resources for information is NASA. Their website contains tips, interactive maps, and other eclipse-related information.

Go to https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

ABBE Library

The Allendale-Barnwell-Bamberg-Edgefield (ABBE) Regional Library is promoting safe viewing practices for the rare total solar eclipse by providing free ISO-certified solar glasses to area residents during the event party.

The library has already given out 100 pairs of glasses but is reserving 300 more for the Aug. 20 event.

“Contact a local ABBE library and visit the online library calendar for details of special programs related to this rare event,” states the ABBE website. “To learn more about experiencing the upcoming eclipse in South Carolina, please view the SC State Library’s Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Educational Resources and Eclipse Safety guides.”

At the Barnwell Library, “Solar Eclipse 101 will be held on Thursday, August 10 at 4 p.m.

Darlene Smalley, Program Director of Aiken’s DuPont Planetarium, will talk about the upcoming eclipse.

A “Solar Eclipse Viewing Party” will be held in conjunction with the City of Barnwell on Monday, August 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Lemon Park.

Eclipse glasses will be available to the first 300 participants.

Visit www.abbe-lib.org/barnwell for additional resources.

Barnwell State Park

When solar eclipse is in its partial phase you must wear special solar eclipse glasses to view it safely. Barnwell State Park is selling these glasses in the office until the end of the eclipse for $1.99.

On Saturday, Aug. 19 the park invites residents to make “Solar Eclipse Survival Bracelets” with a ranger.

They will be using paracord and UV reactive beads to make bracelets that will change colors in the sunlight and glow in the dark during the eclipse.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at the picnic pads behind the park office. The cost is $5 per participant.

An evening hike is planned for Sunday, August 20 at 8 p.m. Participants will simulate the eclipse by taking an evening hike and see how wildlife may act during the eclipse. Meet at the park office at 8 p.m.

The evening hike is free.

On Monday, August 21 at noon, participants can make pinhole cameras with the park ranger.

The pinhole cameras can be used during the eclipse later that day.

All participants will receive solar eclipse glasses in addition to their cameras.

Participants need to meet at Shelter 4 at noon.

The cost is $5 per person.

Barnwell State Park is located at 223 State Park Road, Blackville.

For more info, go to www.southcarolinaparks.com or email Barnwellsp@SCPRT.com or call (803) 284-2212.

Rivers Bridge

Rivers Bridge State Historic Site in Bamberg County will have eclipse-related craft activities and ranger-led programs that all ages can enjoy. There will be an opportunity for most eclipse-related questions to be answered before, during, and after the eclipse event.

This is a free event. The site is located at 325 State Park Road, Ehrhardt.

Activities will begin at 11 a.m. at the Community Building and then will move to the Memorial Grounds for viewing the eclipse at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site.

Viewing glasses will be available to purchase for $2 each.